and Community Forestry/Regional Urban and Community Forestry CouncilsForestry Long
Range Plan - Urban Forestry Sections
following information is taken from the Long Range Plan titled, "Realizing
the Forest's Full Potential: Assessment and Long-Range Action Plan for Forest
Resources in Illinois" developed by the Illinois Forestry Development
- The Forest Resource and the People of Illinois History
In 1820, 13.8 million acres of forest existed in the state. More than 300,000
people settled the prairies during the decade of the 1830's. Today over 90%
of Illinois' population lives in urban areas. Over 242, 000 acres of urban
forest exist in Illinois.
are not well recognized for the opportunities they could provide in green
space, wildlife habitat, recreation, and other benefits. Here green spaces
do not compete with agricultural uses but rather must be protected from development.
Urban and community forests provide aesthetic and recreational benefits to
residents and are often the only contact people have with their living heritage.
In addition, trees help to save energy and reduce fossil fuel consumption,
thus reducing the greenhouse effect.
In urban areas
the biggest threat to contiguous natural areas is urban sprawl. Between 1970
and 1980, approximately 867 quarter-sections in the six-county Chicago metropolitan
area were urbanized (population exceeded 1,000 per square mile). This urbanization
trend continues across the state and is spreading to rural areas located within
several hours of incorporated city limits. Forested tracts are often selected
as prime development sites for this kind of urban sprawl. Planning is imperative
to ensure that these areas meet the needs of citizens and provide adequate-quality
forest resources. Urban forests are often the only contact many people have
with the natural environment.
The Urban and Community Forest
Trees, which make our communities comfortable, are major assets in America's
cities and towns. Just as streets and sidewalks, sewers, public buildings,
and recreational facilities are a part of a community's infrastructure, so
are publically owned trees. Trees, collectively the urban forest, are important
assets that require care and maintenance the same as any other public property.
Our urban forests play a decisive role in the health of our communities and
the quality of life for Illinois' citizens. More than 80 percent of Illinoisans
live in urban areas and, for many, the urban forest is their only exposure
to a natural environment. Without open space and trees, life in urban areas
lacks the natural quality people inherently desire.
The diverse Illinois urban forest resources include street trees, parks, forest
preserves, arboreta gardens, and trees on private property. These valuable
resources, owned by counties, municipalities, park districts and the private
sector, are all managed differently. Urban forests benefits reach beyond those
normally associated with rural forests and contribute greatly to a community's
quality of life. Benefits include energy conservation, climate modification,
noise absorption, water-runoff reduction, property enhancement, tax-base stabilization,
and psychological preferences. ...
It is estimated that the state's 6.5 million municipal street trees have a
value of more than $3 billion. Given that street trees represent only 10 percent
of Illinois' urban tree population, the actual value of Illinois' urban forest
could be estimated at $30 billion. In spite of the benefits and enormous value
of these trees, many communities lack the human fiscal resources to maintain
them adequately. Urban trees live in a harsh environment, and without adequate
maintenance they can deteriorate in to public hazards.
Some communities have completed tree inventories as a step toward managing
their trees, but many others have not. Communities that have not assessed
their urban forests' needs are not provided adequate care and are compounding
future maintenance costs. Neglect results in an overall decline of a community's
urban forest and ensures a reduction in future forest vigor, size, and value
to the community. Currently urban forests form the basis of a $300 million
tree-care industry in Illinois. While more are needed, than 3,000 people are
employed by approximately 500 tree care businesses.
The economic impact of forest-related maintenance in the utility industry
is often overlooked. According to a 1998 Illinois Forest Development Council
survey, $27 million was spent in 1987 by Illinois utilities on forestry-related
items: 95,000 miles of utility right-of-way were maintained; 612,000 trees
were pruned and 118,000 removed. Urban and community forestry programs can
work cooperatively with utilities to reduce utility costs and enhance uninterrupted
service through public education (right tree, right place), community stewardship,
and tree maintenance.
Protection and management of the urban and rural forest are important. Without
adequate protection, many of our forests will succumb to development. Without
management, forested areas decline, especially the stressed forests of populated
The state's urban and community forestry program provides guidance and assistance
to citizen groups and communities in managing their urban resources. The Tree
City USA program, the Urban and Community Forestry Grant program, and technical
assistance provided by Division of Forest Resources field staff all address
this issue. In 1997, 145 Illinois communities participated in Tree City USA
program. Tree City USA helps build the critical foundation needed to sustain
local forestry management programs. The Urban and Community Forestry Grant
Program provides matching funds to units of local government and has had great
success in encouraging local participation. These program are invigorating
Illinois Urban Forest Resources, and at the same time making our neighborhoods
a safer place to live.
address need by:
and assisting communities, local units of government, and community groups
in comprehensive urban forestry management programs.
that ongoing tree maintenance is implemented, along with tree-planting programs.
a vehicle for starting urban and community forestry programs.
in a limited way, the shortage of financial resources, information, and
trained personnel needed to manage Illinois' urban forestry appropriately.
programs not only enhance communities and the quality of life but also reduce
long-term costs in utility line/tree conflict, flood and storm mitigation,
and energy consumption. Investment in a high-quality urban forestry program
is returned many times over through the benefits these programs provide.
and Community Forestry Needs
Illinois legislature has enacted the Urban and Community Forestry Act but
has not appropriated funding. If funded, the program would encourage local
participation by providing matching grants. Communities should be informed
about the advantage of comprehensive urban forestry programs and assisted
in realizing those advantages. Today's communities need to plant and replace
more trees and implement ongoing maintenance programs. Educational efforts
in this area must be greatly expanded.
At present there is a shortage of information, financial and technical resources,
and trained personnel to help manage urban forests. Many long-term problems,
such as inadequate open space and water-resource degradation, are caused by
short-term approaches. To compensate, communities and regional planners need
to understand how to use forestry information and natural resources inventories
to plan and integrate forestry considerations into other community programs.
Urban and community
forestry programs not only help enhance communities and the quality of life
but also reduce long-term costs in utility line-tree conflict, flood and storm
mitigation, (insect and disease issues) and energy consumption. The investment
in high-quality urban and community forestry programs is returned many times
over in the benefits these programs provide to the communities.
of Forest Resources
The mission of the Division of Forest Resources is to protect, perpetuate,
restore, conserve, and manage the forest and related resources of Illinois,
both public and private, rural and urban; and to ensure for future generations
the greatest economic, scientific, and social benefits that can only be provided
through a forest ecological system. The urban forestry program is one of four
major program areas in within the Division.
Urban Forestry Assistance is provided through the District Foresters who work
directly with communities by providing the following field services:
on establishing an urban forestry program
goals and objectives
analysis of existing trees
of an Urban Forestry Management Plan that details: goals and objectives of
the program; analysis of the inventory; proper care and maintenance of the
forest resources; site selection and species recommendations for tree planting;
and a schedule for Plan implementation
proper tree planting and tree care
incentives administered by the Springfield office include: Tree
City USA a program recognizing outstanding forestry programs; Regional
Urban Forestry Councils setting policy priorities and taking action locally
to network urban forestry resources and promote urban forestry issues and
and Community Forestry Assistance Program providing grants on a 50% cost
share basis for creating, enhancing and developing urban forestry programs,
Tree Companion Newsletter distributing valuable urban forestry information
and promoting local initiatives, Arbor Day poster contest encouraging people to plant trees on Arbor Day
in conjunction with the artistic expression.
and partnerships influence the development of the Urban and Community Forestry
Program. Externally, the USDA Forest Service provides fiscal incentives and
guidelines for program development. Within Illinois influences include: local
units of governments, professional organizations such as Illinois Arborist
Association and the Society of American Foresters, Regional Councils, and
The Forestry Development Council's Urban Needs Task Group. As mentioned above
Departmental and Divisional missions, fiscal opportunities, and personnel
also area given consideration in the development of a program.
Urban forestry legislation in America dates to the 17th century when, William
Penn, proprietor of Pennsylvania, required that for each four acres of land
cleared, one acre should remain forested. Federal legislation included communities
and urban areas within the managerial jurisdiction of the Forest Service in
1972. The Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 allowed the Forest Service
to make finds directly available to State Foresters and communities. The 1990
Farm Bill further focused assistance to the states to develop urban and community
forestry programs. (Urban and Community Forestry Program Achievements in 1995
- Vital Communities Through Healthy Ecosystems, USDA Forest Service, 1995).
During the first
decade, the Forest Service provided only $3 million nationwide for the program.
Illinois share was approximately $35,000. During this time, Illinois was able
to establish the state's first urban forestry coordinators position. Since
1991, the USDA Forest Service has been a major partner in state urban and
community forestry programs. Funding for urban forestry programs increased
ten fold. Currently, Illinois has received from $300,000 to $600,000 to fund
its statewide urban forestry program.
This fiscal enhancement
has brought with it increased accountability. There are currently four program
requirements for receiving federal urban and community forestry funding. They
are: 1) Hire a full-time urban forestry coordinator/administrator; 2) either
hire or have the capacity to provide volunteer outreach throughout the state
of Illinois; 3) develop an urban forestry council; and 4) develop and implement
a five year plan of action.
The fiscal responsibility
is to provide a 50/50 match of the funds on legitimate urban forestry activities.
Legitimate activities are those that help the state meet the Performance Measures
Assessment Standards (PMAS) as established by the USDA Forest Service. The
PMAS reporting system currently assesses: Community assists; Number of Tree
City USA communities; Number of communities conducting projects with state
assistance; Number of communities that have an ordinance or tree board; Number
of communities with a basic assessment of their forest resource; Number of
communities with a tree inventory or management plan; Number of Communities
that are sustaining; Number of grants to communities; and the Number of workshop,
seminars, conferences and teleconferences held. There is increasing pressures
from within the federal government to assure that the urban forestry dollars
are being directed toward these accomplishment. There is also increased pressure
to document accomplishments at the state level. These pressures translate
into a greater need for accountability of those programmatic accomplishments
credited to the urban forestry program. The Forest Service needs all of the
states to document movement up the PMAS ladder thus showing a communities
initial involvement in urban forestry to their ultimate goal of being a sustained
community. With a state the size and populace of Illinois, this can be considered
an enormous task. It will require the development of a uniform data base and
constant attention to the status of communities within each field District.
Development Council - Long Range Plan
Below are the urban and community forestry goals and actions as identified
by the Urban Needs Task Group in-conjunction with the Council on Forestry
Development. These goals are shared by many organizations including the Illinois
Department of Natural Resources Division of Forest Resources Urban Program.
high-quality urban and community forestry management that will result in economic
benefits and in attractive, healthful, and rewarding environments from urban
forests for the people of Illinois.
1 - To encourage and enhance cooperation, networking, and partnerships
between and within public and private agencies and organizations
support Urban and Community Forestry programs at the federal, state, and local
establish a program to provide stable funding for urban and community forestry
Develop an information
and education program to improve: (a) public knowledge and awareness, (b)
agency coordination for urban and community forestry management.
Develop a recognition
program for urban partners
interaction and cooperation between governmental agencies and non-governmental
organizations to identify common issues, develop strategies, and strengthen
commitments to urban and community forestry
assist in the development of additional groups of diverse interests to discuss
and achieve compromise and a balance of resource issues.
Objective 2 - Promote high-quality urban and community
forestry practices and management through technical assistance, education,
technology transfer, and research.
and development to expand the capabilities of urban and community forestry
practitioners, related disciplines, and volunteer organizations.
and development to expand the capabilities of urban and community forestry
practitioners, related disciplines, and volunteer organizations.
and secure additional state and federal assistance for urban and community
forestry programs and projects.
for the improvement of urban and community forestry.
and community forestry staff within the CES in urban areas.
of government to implement acceptable tree-care practices and utilize professional
urban foresters and arborist in their local tree maintenance, urban planning
and development programs.
technical assistance to units of government by increasing Division of Forest
Resources staff to include a minimum of 8 additional urban forestry field
professional employees, plus support staff.
management initiatives that increase linkages with programs associated with
wood-waste reduction and recycling, timber supply, watershed management, management
in the urban-wildland interface, and so forth.
Statements: In March of 1999, the Council on Forestry Development sponsored
a task force called "A The Council on Forestry Development along with
the Society of American Foresters conducted a visioning session called "Common
Vision for Illinois Forests". This task force identified the following
urban forestry-related vision statements to address Illinois' forests.
... provide a
range of goods, services, experiences and values the at contribute to community
well being, economic stability, social and personal satisfaction, and recreational
... be protected
from land use changes and development impacts that diminish ecological processes,
wildlife habitat, aesthetic values, forest product industries, and rural community
... provide benefits
that sustain the quality of life for people who live and work in rural and
long-term ecosystem integrity through the application of scientifically sound
resource management practices
through reforestation and restoration where ecologically, economically, and
culturally appropriate in order to meet the needs (clean water and air, recreational
opportunities, plant an animal diversity, forest products, etc. ) of an expanding
... be acknowledged
as vital by all people, who appreciate the important role forests play in
the State's economy and the forest's positive impact on their quality of life.